July 18, 2018 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette.
The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network is pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018, or BUILD Act (H.R. 5105). The legislation would expand U.S. development finance capabilities by establishing a new International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC). Private investment is a key element in unlocking development progress, and joining assistance resources with private finance can expand the universe that advances inclusive economic development.
The BUILD Act enjoys widespread, bipartisan support. The White House released a statement endorsing the bill and lauding changes regarding efficiency and alignment with foreign policy and development goals. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which would be reorganized as a result of the legislation, also applauded the passage of the bill.
“The new International Development Finance Corporation, as outlined in the BUILD Act, would be an accountable, transparent, impact-focused leader in the development community,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. “The legislation prioritizes cooperation with USAID, our lead development agency, and directs the IDFC to pursue highly developmental projects, particularly in countries that are subject to extreme poverty, fragility, and violence.”
“The BUILD Act is a positive step in modernizing the way the U.S. supports development around the world. Currently, private investment is being underutilized due to an outdated U.S. development finance infrastructure,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center. “It’s time for Congress to help unleash more innovative financing tools, while maintaining existing high standards for transparency, evaluation, and performance measurement stipulated in this bill and in the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act that was enacted into law in 2016.”
“The BUILD Act embraces the mission of sustainable, broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction, and development. Provisions in the improved legislation prioritize less-developed countries and small business, and include environmental and social safeguards. It’s encouraging to see the House of Representatives vote in favor of modernizing our finance tools and enabling transparent growth and development,” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Plan International USA.
The MFAN Co-Chairs urge swift consideration of the BUILD Act in the Senate. MFAN wishes to thank the bill sponsors, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) for their continuing support of maximizing our development impact.